My Dear Sir,
I was sent here this morning for operating treatment.
Hope to return to the The Cenacle for Christmas, but matters have turned out rather as if I am to stop here.
I am keeping as well as possible. Received and read with pleasure, the letter from Mother, Ida & Basil.
Your affec. Son
PS I put it to Dr Schlater (sic) my wish to return to the Cenacle & will try here.
Pte Bertie Hibbett always conveys important news first to his Father: this time it’s about an operation to save the use of his right hand if not his arm – something that might send him back to the Front or affect his future career. My poor Dad! longing to be Home for Christmas – or if not Home then back with the kind nurses at The Cenacle Hospital.
(1) Fazakerley Military Hospital, Liverpool. ‘1st Western Military Hospital‘ in 1914 for treatment of injured soldiers. Hospital built 1903 in grounds of Harbreck Estate, 4.7 miles from Cenacle, New Brighton, across the Mersey. (NB Pte Bertie misspells his address).
Harbreck Estate bought by City Council, 1898. consisted of a Country House, farms and cottages. By 1906 the Hospital had 4 isolation blocks for infectious diseases (smallpox & TB), a nurses’ home/admin block/kitchen block/laundry/dispensary/ mortuary.
Fazakerley Sanatorium (245 TB patients) opened in 1920 by Alderman Dr. John Utting JP/ a relative of Hibbett Family Doctor in Walsall perhaps?
Fazakerley district was home to Royal Ordnance Factories making WW1 Lee-Enfield Rifles (Sten & Stirling submachine guns WW2). Fazakerley: Anglo-Saxon ‘a wood or a clearing’.
(2) Handwriting appears left-handed, similar to that of Pte Bertie’s first Letter Home from the Somme, 9th July 1916. (3) ‘Schlater’ is German: perhaps changed to Sclater to mask connection with Germany in wartime?) cf Hibbett Letter: 25th Nov. 1916.
NEXT POST: 15th Dec. 1916. ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’.